Festival aims to inspire young people with the wonder of words
- Credit: Archant
A festival aiming to inspire young people with the world of words is preparing to fly into Norwich for another year.
The University of East Anglia's annual Festival of Literature for Young People (FLY) is set to take place from July 9 to 13 and features a packed line-up of authors, poets and performers.
Frances Hardinge, who won the 2015 Costa Book of the Year for The Lie Tree, will be giving the Mal Peet Memorial Talk, meanwhile other wordsmiths taking part in festival events include Anthony McGowan, who has been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal for his book Rook, hip hop artist BREIS and storyteller Jan Blake.
New for this year, there will be a poetry day with a Poetry All Stars event featuring poets including Luke Wright, Martin Figura, and Andrea Holland.
Playwrights of the future will also see their newly created plays performed by Laughing Mirror at the Maddermarket Theatre. The young writers involved in the playwriting project are from six schools - City Academy Norwich, Sewell Park Academy, King's Lynn Academy, Ormiston Victory Academy, Alderman Peel High School and City of Norwich School.
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The festival is also offering students from disadvantaged backgrounds, or with little or no experience of higher education, the chance to attend events for free.
Antoinette Moses, FLY Festival co-founder and producer, said: 'FLY calls itself a window into a world of words, but it is also a window into a world of possibilities.
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'Many students who come to FLY think that higher education isn't for them, but FLY changes their minds.
'In workshops they work with inspiring writers and workshop leaders and realise that studying literature and creative writing can be hugely enjoyable. It gives them something to aim for.'
Festival director Lauren Starkey added: 'Last year FLY gave out over £2,000-worth of free tickets and we are definitely expecting to exceed that [this year].
'UEA runs several outreach programmes to raise aspirations and encourage students who might not think that higher education is for them.
'This festival is much more than just a celebration of writing, though it certainly is that. It also works hard to promote widening participation.'
FLY 2018 is at the UEA from July 9 to 13. Tickets are on sale now. For more about the festival programme, including how to access free tickets, visit www.uea.ac.uk/fly
Budding young wordsmiths are being challenged to take up the 2018 FLY Festival writing challenge.
This year's competition is inspired by The Lost Words, a book in which artist Jackie Morris and writer Robert Macfarlane aim to make young people more familiar with some of the words describing the natural world.
In keeping with this, the FLY Festival competition is asking entrants to write 500 words of fiction or non-fiction, or a poem of at least 20 lines, which celebrates one of the 'lost words' from the book.
These include: acorn, adder, bluebell, bramble, conker, dandelion, fern, heather, heron, ivy, kingfisher, lark, magpie, newt, otter, raven, starling, weasel, willow or wren.
The competition is open 11 to 18 year olds and the deadline for entries is June 4.
For more information about the competition, visit www.uea.ac.uk/fly/get-involved/competition
JOIN THE FLY MEDIA TEAM
FLY Festival is looking for young people to join its media team and report on all the news and activities during the week-long event.
Members of the FLY Media Team will receive free media training and become the festival's eyes and ears. They will interview authors, write news reports and take photographs, all of which will be uploaded to the FLY blog. The festival also trains two undergraduates who work on the marketing of the festival and mentor the young media team. EDP reporter Eleanor Pringle, who was previously a member of the FLY media team, said: 'I learned so much from the FLY trainee scheme, but the main thing it did was open my eyes to the opportunities available if I just asked. I never thought I'd be interviewing some of the UK's top children's authors in London, or writing bios for the authors I grew up reading, but all I had to do was volunteer myself for the chance.'
Applications to join the FLY Media Team close on May 25 - visit www.uea.ac.uk/fly/get-involved/media-team